Aviation safety investigations & reports

Breakdown of coordination - 13 km NE of Melbourne Airport

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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On 25 January 2006 a Beech Aircraft Corporation 200 (King Air) aircraft was north bound en route from Essendon, Vic., to Shepparton, Vic. The aircraft was operating under the instrument flight rules (IFR) and was climbing to flight level (FL) 130. At the same time, an Airbus A320-232 (A320) aircraft was south-west bound en route from Sydney, NSW, to Avalon, Vic., and was on descent to FL130. The aircraft were in airspace that was being managed by the Melbourne Departures North controller (north controller). The King Air pilots were communicating with air traffic control on the Melbourne Departures South frequency. The A320 pilots were communicating with air traffic control on the Melbourne Approach East controller's (east controller's) frequency.

When the aircraft were about 10 NM east of Melbourne at FL130, Melbourne air traffic controllers realised that a potential for an infringement of separation existed and a short term conflict alert activated on their air situation displays. The controllers issued turn instructions to the crews of each aircraft, which preserved the required 3 NM radar separation minima. The east controller also issued traffic information on the King Air to the crew of the A320. A review of the recorded radar data showed that the two aircraft came within about 4 NM of each other.

Although there was no infringement of separation standards, the controllers concerned were not aware that a potential conflict existed between the two aircraft until avoiding action, initiated by air traffic control, was required in order to preserve the 3 NM radar separation standard. There was a breakdown in coordination between the east controller, the north controller and the south controller.

Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 554KB]
General details
Date: 25 January 2006   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 1755    
Location   (show map): 13km NE Melbourne, Airport    
State: Victoria   Occurrence type: Breakdown of co-ordination  
Release date: 05 March 2007   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft 1 details

Aircraft 1 details
Aircraft manufacturer Beech Aircraft Corp  
Aircraft model 200  
Aircraft registration VH-MWQ  
Serial number BB-1416  
Type of operation Aerial Work  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Essendon, Vic  
Departure time 0653  
Destination Shepparton, Vic  

Aircraft 2 details

Aircraft 2 details
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus Industrie  
Aircraft model A320  
Aircraft registration VH-VQQ  
Serial number 2537  
Type of operation Air Transport High Capacity  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Sydney, NSW  
Departure time 0602  
Destination Avalon, Vic  
Last update 18 April 2018